(This and nearly 90 other media clips from the past week in politics can be found at Hominid Views.)
Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
It’s a little more expensive to die in King County now:
A $50 fee for cremations goes into effect Nov. 20.
A Seattle-King County Public Health manager, Gareth Johnson, says the money will help pay for the medical examiner’s office to review all deaths. It will determine if they should be investigated before the body is destroyed.
…John Rolfstad [director of the People’s Memorial Association] says the fee could be a burden for the poor or discriminate against people who chose cremation for religious purposes.
Sounds to me like a pall tax.
In addition, Eyman complained that his request for a guest commentary on the Ensey blogging issue had been denied by the Herald-Republic’s editorial board. He argued that his sympathetic-to-Ensey perspective would be valuable because he once had been nailed for not telling the truth about receiving monetary compensation for his political work on initiatives.
On Wednesday, Herald-Republic publisher Michael Shepard said the paper’s editorial board denied Eyman a guest commentary on the grounds that Eyman was neither a member of the community nor had any special expertise on the subject.
“Tim having been reared in Yakima doesn’t give him standing on City Council issues, nor is he an expert on blogging ethics,” Shepard explained. “We offered him the same letter-to-the-editor opportunity that Bill Lover and Rick Ensey took as well as 98 other readers. We would still consider a letter from Mr. Eyman.”
Wait a minute. Eyman was seriously arguing that he has expertise that warrants a guest commentary because…he was caught lying?
You may recall that Eyman previously stole money donated to his initiative campaign, and used it to pay himself a handsome salary. Worse yet, he repeatedly said he wasn’t doing this. Essentially, he was lying his ass off to his donors: “The biggest lie of my life,” he finally admitted.
Later on, he was found by the PDC to have violated multiple parts of RCW 42.17 (Campaign finance and disclosure laws). As a result, Eyman was fined $50,000 after stealing over $200,000 from his donors.
So…come to think of it, Eyman actually does have a point. As an admitted liar, he can certainly comment with some authority on the ethical shortcomings of others.
And, apparently, the Herald-Republic came to the same realization. According to a comment left in the Horses Ass comment thread, Mr. Eyman claims that a limited guest commentary has now been accepted.
Unless, of course, Tim is lying again.
The Swift Kids for Truth strike again:
Oh…and come prepared with your own ideas for this Comedy Central photo caption contest.
Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
1Thanks to N in Seattle for the correction.
It is just another Republican attempt to gain power through tricks and exploitation, rather than through leadership. We all remember previous Republican coup attempts: the Clinton impeachment, Katherine Harris’ illegal disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legitimate Florida voters, the Republican shutdown of recounts in Florida, the illegal mid-term Texas redistricting, the California gubernatorial recall, and even the Republican’s attempt to steal the Washington governors office by suing over made-up charges of election fraud.
This time, the Republicans are gaming the electoral votes in California. Johann Hari’s guest column in the Seattle P-I explains:
…the Republicans are trying to exploit the discontent with the Electoral College among Americans in a way that would rig the system in their favor. At the moment, every state apart from Maine and Nebraska hands out its Electoral College votes according to a winner-takes-all system. This means that if 51 percent of people in California vote Democrat, the Democrats get 100 percent of California’s electoral votes; if 51 percent of people in Texas vote Republican, the Republicans get 100 percent of Texas’ electoral votes.
The Republicans want to change this — but in only one Democrat-leaning state. California has gone Democratic in presidential elections since 1988, and winning the sunny state is essential if the Democrats are going to retake the White House. So the Republicans have now begun a plan to break up California’s Electoral College votes and award a huge chunk of them to their side.
They have launched a campaign called California Counts, and they are trying to secure a statewide referendum in June to implement their plan. They want California’s electoral votes to be divvied up not on a big statewide basis, but according to the much smaller congressional districts. The practical result? Instead of all the state’s 54 Electoral College votes going to the Democratic candidate, around 20 would go to the Republicans.
The effect would be to hand the Republicans an extra state the size of Ohio or Pennsylvania–but without so much as a single extra popular vote going to the Republican candidate. They would simply be gaming the system for a short-term advantage to
win acquire the White House in 2008.
At Hominid Views, I’ve been conducting a series of simulation studies for the 2008 election. I’ve used state-wide head-to-head polls pitting, say, Clinton against Giuliani (as well as other match-ups) to repeatedly simulate 2008 elections. The results provide a distribution of electoral college votes that can be used to estimate the probability that each candidate would win if the election were held today.
For example, after 10,000 simulated elections using, whenever possible, polls from the last month, the distribution of Electoral College votes looks like this:
Clinton won the electoral vote 9,530 times, and Giuliani won only 417. (There were 53 ties that would almost certainly be a win for Clinton). In other words Clinton wins about 95.8% of the simulated elections and Giuliani wins 4.2%.
Here is the same simulation, but this time using the “California Counts” rules to divvy up the California electoral votes:
Now after 10,000 simulated elections, Clinton wins only 7,233 (plus 181 ties) and Giuliani wins 2,586. With no change whatsoever in the popular vote, Clinton’s chance of victory decreases to 74.1% and Giuliani is up to a probability of 25.9%.
Giuliani’s increased chance of winning is not attributable to some refinement of democracy, and it doesn’t better reflect the will of the people. Rather, it reflects a trick. Apparently, the Republicans are still not confident in their ability to win through genuine leadership, superior public policy, or popular appeal. That leaves them with little choice but political trickery.
Today I stumbled across this recent Field Poll that shows Californians growing more and more…um…excited about mail-in voting.
Notable finding: “Permanent mail ballot registrants include more registered Republicans than are found in the overall electorate.”
Eli Sanders looks at the Darcy Burner–Rep. Dave Reichert race in Washington’s 8th congressional district and asks, “What makes important people think that Eastside Democrat Darcy Burner can win in November 2008 the same congressional race that she lost last year?”
Sanders asked DCCC chair Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) who was in town to raise money for Burner this week. Van Hollen provides a number of reasons that don’t seem to completely convince Sanders…until he gets to this:
The most significant thing Van Hollen noted during the conference call was that the National Republican Congressional Committee, which last year spent about $2.5 million to help Reichert win, currently has only $2.5 million total cash on hand to help Republicans around the country. Contrast that with the $29.2 million that Van Hollen currently has to offer Democrats and you see not only a snapshot of the hurt that Bush has put on the Republican Party as a whole, but also a clear path to a Burner victory.
The Republican money deficit is far, far more serious than these figures tell. As Andrew Tannenbaum points out:
So far, 22 representatives have announced they are not running. Of these, 17 are Republicans and five are Democrats, and all five Democrats are from safe districts. […] Four of the Republican seats are safe (AL-02, CO-06, MS-03, and WY-AL), but the other 13 will be battlegrounds. In addition, there there are half a dozen seats the Republicans held in 2006 by tiny margins and will have to pour money into to defend. An example is NC-08, in which a totally unknown high school teacher with no political experience, no money, and no support from the national party, came with[in] 329 votes of unseating a wealthy four-term Republican congressman. There are a few Democratic freshmen who come from hostile districts such as Brad Ellsworth in IN-08, but most of them won by decent margins and have voted fairly conservatively in Congress and most are raising money like there is no tomorrow. For example, freshmen Kirsten Gillibrand (NY-20), Ron Klein (FL-22), and Joe Sestak (PA-07) have all raised $1.5 million or more already. The median at this point for all 435 representatives is about $400,000.
NRCC chair Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) will have an enormous cash disadvantage with many open, currently Republican, seats to defend. Unquestionably there will be better investments for the NRCC’s limited funds than WA-08.
Dave Reichert is almost certainly going to have to find most of his own money this election. And given that his recent Bush-headlining fund-raiser raised more money for Burner than for his own campaign, he’ll have to find a strategy that doesn’t shoot himself in the
(Cross-posted at Hominid Views.)
In talking about congestion pricing
on my show Saturday night, I couldn’t contain a brief outburst over how our local media and political elite continue to take seriously the Discovery Institute’s transportation proposals in light of its embarrassing role in promoting Creationism Intelligent Design. My frustration stems not simply from the fact that Intelligent Design is ridiculous anti-science, or that it is part of a well planned and executed multi-year campaign to undermine science education in the US at a time we face growing global economic competition… but that it has been promoted in such a shamelessly dishonest manner.
The Discovery Institute has proven again and again that it makes no distinction between scholarship and propaganda, and that there is no ethical boundary it will not cross in the interest of foisting its Christianist agenda on the American people. This blatant disregard for the most basic rigors of academia — or even fair play — was highlighted recently by a virologist/blogger who discovered that DI fellows had stolen and manipulated a Harvard University/XVIVO video for use in their own presentations, without attribution, permission or license.
Here is the original Harvard/XVIVO video, “The inner life of a cell”, with its scientifically accurate narration intact:
And here is a clip from a Discovery Institute presentation that features an excerpt of the video, now redubbed and retitled “The Cell as an Automated City.” Notice how the presenter describes the video as “state of the art computer animation,” implying that it is somehow the work of the institute:
As ERV points out in
his her post, this isn’t just a naive case of copyright infringement. The Discovery Institute has plenty of lawyers on staff and on retainer, so they sure as hell know that scrubbing the Harvard/XVIVO copyright and credits off the video is not only dishonest, but illegal.
Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they gave the animation a new title (’Inner life of a cell’ became ‘The cell as an automated city’) and an extraordinarily unprofessional new narration (alternate alternate title– ‘ Big Gay Al takes a tour of a cell!’). Harvard/XVIVOs narration, all of the science, is whisked away and replaced with a ’surrealistic lilliputian realm’– ‘robots’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘circuitry’, ‘nano moters’, ‘UPS labels’. Maybe they think it is ‘okay’ because they turned all of Harvards science into ‘MAGIC!’
Hmm. From my point of view, as a virologist and former teaching assistant, this isn’t just copyright infringement. This is theft and plagiarism. Taking someone else’s work without their consent, manipulating it without their consent, pretending it supports ID Creationists distorted views of reality, and presenting it as DI’s work.
ERV further points out that if the DI fellows responsible for this were at
his her university, they would be expelled for their plagiarism.
But this is just business as usual at the Discovery Institute, and it raises a question: if the Discovery Institute can’t be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on its signature issue, Intelligent Design, how can its Cascadia Center be trusted to produce independent academic scholarship on regional transportation planning? Of course, it can’t, and the media, business and political elites who ignore the institute’s established track record of distorting scholarship and science in the single-minded pursuit of its own private agenda, are little more than willful dupes.
Our region’s transportation planning is too important to be trusted to a faux “think tank” with such a shameful and embarrassing record, and every time one of our local media outlets unskeptically cites one of its reports or recommendations, it grants the Discovery Institute credibility it simply does not deserve. Unlike a real think tank, the Discovery Institute produces “scholarship” to support its existing agenda, not the other way around, and thus it cannot and should not be considered a trusted partner in planning our region’s transportation future.
Tonight it will be good clean all-American politics (with any Muslims who happen to show up sent to the back of the bar). I hear that Seattle Dan and Seattle Tammy will be making a rare appearance.
Tonight’s theme song: Why Did I Choose You? by Barbara Streisand.
Not in Seattle? Check out the Drinking Liberally web site for dates and times of a chapter near you.
Awww, gee…I hate calling someone a liar.
Even as a degenerate “far left” liberal who grew up in a household colluding with Satan to destroy America (i.e. with a divorced parent), my mother taught me to give the benefit of the doubt. I call someone a liar only after other possibilities become implausible.
I can, in good conscience, call Tim Eyman a liar. I mean, he admitted to lying about taking donor money as personal compensation. Mike McGavick earned the moniker through a whole series of fibs and “parables” offered as fact (discussed here and here).
I’m not yet ready to pronounce Mr. Rossi a serial liar—even considering that he is (1) a Republican, (2) a Washington state Republican and (3) a real estate
broker salesman. Not yet…but, man, Rossi and his campaign are sure trying my good will.
Yesterday Neil Modie at the PI reported on the misleading rate of fundraising that the Rossi campaign was boasting about.
His campaign reported last week that he brought in “over $463,300 during the month of October. He announced his candidacy for governor on October 25th.”
Curt Woodward of the AP adds:
In that fundraising statement, spokeswoman Jill Strait bragged about Rossi raising nearly $500,000 “in roughly one week.” The campaign refused to offer any supporting documentation.
So reporters from the mainstream media were duped into writing about the spectacular rate of fundraising—for example, take this post from, umm…Mr. Modie:
Rossi bursts rapidly out of the fund-raising gate
A lot of checkbooks were waiting to open once Dino Rossi declared his long-expected 2008 candidacy for governor Oct. 25.
In the week between his announcement and the end of October, the Republican raised more than $463,000 for his race against Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, his campaign reported Thursday. And he raised an additional $110,000 the first two days of November.
Or, as Woodward explains:
Based on Strait’s statement and interviews, The Associated Press and other news organizations reported that Rossi’s initial fundraising burst began with his Oct. 25 campaign announcement.
The campaign never raised any issues of accuracy about those reports. But campaign officials knew, and never clarified, that Rossi had been collecting campaign donations for about two weeks by the time he officially announced his gubernatorial bid.
After examining the Rossi’s campaign finance records, Neil Modie learned that:
…[Rossi’s] campaign started accepting contributions Oct. 12 and took in $97,750 even before he announced his candidacy Oct. 25. Of that sum, $86,800 came in donations of $2,800 each, the maximum amount allowed by law for the primary and general elections combined.
An additional $60,873 came in on the day of the announcement, more than half of it in contributions of $2,800 each.
The campaign, seemingly coming to the realization that it’s not nice to fool political reporters, has now issued an apology.
“I apologize to you if you feel like you were misled,” Strait told the AP. “I agree that we could have clarified that the first check came in on the 12th.”
Yep…you could have, but you didn’t. Instead, in issuing the apology, the Rossi campaign lied to reporters again (my emphasis):
After apologizing, Strait claimed that “there was never a secret” that Rossi decided to run for governor on Oct. 11, the day before he collected his first donations.
That statement is untrue: when asked about an impending Rossi campaign shortly before the official Oct. 25 announcement, Strait refused to offer any details of Rossi’s plans, saying only that he would be talking about his political future.
Ouch! The publicly-disclosed Rossi campaign is less than a month old (or the not-secret-unless-you-asked campaign is just over a month old) and already the media is insinuating that the Rossi campaign is a pack of liars.
I’m guessing that one of the first things you learn in Becoming a Politician 101 is “Never, ever, ever piss off the press by getting caught lying to them.” (Lying to the people? Probably okay…but not the press.)
The rest of Woodward’s article sure reads like someone who feels betrayed:
The “nearly half a million dollars” raised in “roughly one week” actually referred to the approximately $365,000 Rossi collected in the last week of October, combined with some $110,000 the campaign says Rossi raised on the first two days of November.
The most recent campaign finance reports do not include November donations, making it impossible to immediately confirm whether Rossi actually raised that much money in the first two days of the month.
And Neil Modie seems a little peeved, too. In yesterday’s article deflating Rossi’s fundraising hyperbole, Neil meanders to the topic of a PDC investigation of illegal campaigning on the part of Rossi:
[Lori] Anderson [Spokeswoman for the state Public Disclosure Commission] said the commission is also investigating a Rossi campaign Web site, telldino.com, because it was registered Sept. 8, before Rossi says he decided to run. Strait, his spokeswoman, said a Rossi campaign volunteer, Thomas Swanson, registered it on his own without telling Rossi so that the Web address would be available if the candidate did decide to run.
Strait said Swanson took the action after he and J. Vander Stoep, a Rossi campaign adviser, discussed the idea of creating telldino.com to enable citizens to give Rossi their suggestions for improving government.
Wait a minute! That sure has the look and smell of a tenny-weeny little fib.
If Rossi had not decided to run by September 8th, what purpose would there be in discussing a new web site for folks to offer Rossi “suggestions for improving government?” Isn’t that exactly what The Washington Idea Bank (a wholly owned subsidiary of Forward Washington Foundation) was created for? The site has a web form for offering ideas…to Rossi’s pre-campaign organization.
Are we really to believe that on September 8th (three days before Rossi secretly resigned from Forward Washington Foundation) a (future?) campaign adviser had discussed creating a new “Rossi Idea Bank” site, but that was all “before Rossi says he decided to run,” and the site was registered for non-campaign purposes? Right.
Now the needle is pegged on my implausiometer.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently released a final report making a compelling case that human-induced global warming is happening and will have dire consequences. But maybe you don’t find the expertise of scientists trained in climatological science all that compelling. Here is another way of thinking about global warming:
(This and some seventy other media clips from the past week in politics are now posted at Hominid Views.)